Though it might not seem like it due to the title of the film and despite being a poor man’s Tarzan – Zambo, King of the Jungle is not all that bad. Starring muscleman Brad Harris as the erstwhile Zambo, he is a man on the run, an escaped felon who is innocent of the murder charge against him, but as the law does not see it that way, once free, he intends to stay that way. Luckily for him, he has escaped into the jungles of South Africa and it is there that he finds a home. While peace comes easily to him now, Zambo still manages to encounter a bit of trouble when encountering a group of explorers and one in particular who wants to leave the jungle with a fair amount of gold that does not belong to him.
When one considers the amount of jungle films that had preceded this one throughout the years, they will find that Zambo is not all that bad. It does stretch on for a while with many unneeded scenes, like that first half-hour chunk or so when Zambo makes good his escape handcuffed to another man and the strange lack of action in the movie does not help matters either. If there is one thing that a person wants to see in a Tarzan rip-off, it is the hero battling all sorts of creatures and evil men. The fact that Bitto Albertini who directed this film chose not to lace it with excitement through fisticuffs and considering that he had Brad Harris starring who was no stranger to the action genre was probably the biggest sin that this movie committed. Harris for his part looked great and still in good shape so was no doubt ready to flex his muscles for the camera, though just why it is that the costume department put him in that weird animal skin outfit when he could have went full Tarzan and bare-chested it is a mystery. It is more than likely they wanted to avoid those Tarzan comparisons, but that was never going to be avoided no matter how hard the filmmakers tried.
There were some positives to the film such as the music by Marcello Giombini and the cinematography by Pier Luigi Santi which was aided by some actual location shooting in Tanzania and Uganda which gave it an air of authenticity. Some of it failed to impress like the acting, the story and the script which was par for the course considering this was never meant to be high art. As for the bad, the visual effects were laughable, but kept to a minimum which was a smart way to go about it and a little bit of the ridiculous managed to make into the picture as well, namely the ability to control the beasts of the jungle much like Aquaman does the creatures of the ocean. Still, considering what there was to work with and how it all turned out, the movie managed to entertain and gave the viewer a chance to escape into the jungle for a good ninety minutes away from the toils of regular life.
2.5 out of 5